You are viewing firstashore

Bottle of Moet down the hatch tonight (shared with Sally). And some Argentine Malbec, and some beers from a brewery in San Francisco.

We found the best bottle shop I've ever seen in Brisbane, in Red Hill. It's fantastic, all exotic and boutique beers, ciders, wines, champagnes, etc. Will definitely be going back there.

We looked at houses today. Saw an auction for a little, fairly crappy place not too far from us which went for $680,000. Then we randomly stumbled across an open house inspection nearby for a place which Sally went on some online app and discovered was valued in the vicinity of somewhere over $1 million. It was really nice, we would both have moved in instantly if we could, but seriously, a million dollars?!

The housing market is seriously overvalued. And Brisbane is nowhere near as bad as Sydney or Melbourne. It's all only because the interest rates are so low - wait until they start to rise (which will happen shortly after the US Fed stops 'quantitative easing' ie soon) and I predict we'll have a US-style housing crash on our hands. Well, maybe not that bad, but I think you'd be mad to buy at this time. Housing prices are inflated purely because people can afford them with interest rates this low. Once rates go up - pop goes the bubble.

In the meantime, I'll just keep drinking Moet instead.
Current Music: The Lawrence Arms - October Blood
28 September 2014 @ 06:11 pm
Signed up again for Aconcagua in February. Hope I get to the top this time, because it's bloody expensive, especially with the Aussie dollar finally starting to plunge against the US dollar.

It'll all depend on the weather again. Last year we had the worst season in 30 years, so presumably it'll be better than that, but it could still be pretty shitty, shitty enough to preclude a summit day.

But hopefully I'll get a chance. I paid my deposit last week and they e-mailed to say thanks and that I was the first (read: only) one to pay it, so that's not a good sign. If they don't get enough to run it, I might have a go at Island Peak or something in the Himalayas that is not quite so high but a bit more technical (ie actually uses a rope, although you don't really need one).
Courtney Love's solo album is really underrated. Said probably nobody ever, except, strangely enough, me now. An old friend got me to download some of the tracks because she wanted to jam to them on our guitars, so I did. Never really took to it, but it's been sitting on my iTunes since, I guess 2008. Then as I was downloading my iTunes library from the cloud onto my new laptop a few days ago, I heard one of the tracks, Mono, and it's actually awesome. o.O

Six years it took - I think that's a record for the length of time it's taken a track to grow on me!

Got me reminiscing about those days, too. Zoe and I had a falling out (entirely one-sided) and she cut contact, which is a shame as she was one of my favourite people back then. There are some people I really don't regret losing from my life, and others I do.

Pretty cool film clip, too. Very Courtney...

23 August 2014 @ 08:37 pm
My horse ran third today, paying $5 for the place. So I made a cool $100 there.

The Wallabies did absolutely shit though against the ABs. I don't think anybody expected them to win, so it's no real surprise, but still disappointing.
18 August 2014 @ 10:30 pm
Saw this on the weekend with Sally:

It was wonderful, best movie I've seen in a long time. I didn't really know anything about going in, hadn't even seen the trailer, but I'd read it was by the producer of The Full Monty so was expecting something a bit light-hearted. Well, it definitely wasn't that...

I read a review that described it as 'life-affirming' and 'a tonic to the soul' and I didn't find it any of those, either. It's bloody sad, in fact. It could have been a melancholic but bittersweet film with a passably happy ending, but for a dick move on the part of the director, who spurned that approach and went with making it as sad as possible.

In fact that was the only fault I could find with it - otherwise it was pretty much perfect. I know it's standard in the film industry to shoot a couple of endings and use test audiences to decide which to go with, but I can't imagine that happened here, because there's not an audience in the world who would have gone with the ending he chose.

Anyway, it's beautiful, poetic, and very very moving. See it. You won't be disappointed. Maudlin and teary, perhaps, but not disappointed.
Current Mood: moved
12 July 2014 @ 11:38 pm
The main reason I've been feeling emo (wow, that word is so 2006) all day is because I finished The Railway Man this morning. It's such a beautiful book. It didn't leave me quite as affected as The Recollection of Rifleman Bowlby, which was poetically bittersweet, but it still had me in tears by the end, to the extent I had to blow my nose several times.

It's just so much better than the movie, which I didn't like at all when I saw it six months ago or so. Eric Lomax's writing style isn't as poetic as Alex Bowlby's, and it places it is actually quite dry - it's much more a conventionally autobiographical. But he writes in this concise reflective style - musings on life in a way that had me thinking "wow - what an amazing use of words."

But the pathos is all there - the emotion of meeting the Japanese interpreter in 1995. There is none of that in the movie - in fact they have him roughing up the interpreter when they meet, which is nowhere even close to what really happened. The book was, actually, what I was expecting - hoping - the movie to be.

But both Rifleman Bowlby and the Railway Man are such intense descriptions of severe PTSD and the effects it has on people even at the very end of their lives. I'm not going to forget either of them to the very end of mine, I'm sure.

He died in October 2012, right about the time Sally and I were moving in together. That thought was curiously difficult for me to accept.
12 July 2014 @ 11:06 pm
Feeling in a bit of a rut lately. Not really sure how to break out of it.

I find myself not doing much in the evening or weekends, but at the same time having no real desire or motivation to do anything.

I had plans to do a bunch of stuff, including starting a Masters, taking Spanish lessons (for a return to Aconcagua) and joining the Army again, but I find myself not doing anything about any of them. The Masters and rejoining the Army both had minor excuses, but neither of those were insurmountable - I've just used them to justify doing nothing about it.

For the Masters, Josh, my mate who was going to do the Masters with me, didn't get accepted, and I'm not convinced my current level of motivation is sufficient to make a decent attempt at such a difficult subject. Especially while working full time. And for the Army, my fingers are still swollen (from my rheumatoid arthritis scare), which has put me off doing anything much physical.

I'm not even really drinking any more. Which is by no means a bad thing - it's just that when I can't even be arsed to go to the pub, you know things are getting bad!
Current Mood: listlesslistless
09 July 2014 @ 09:59 pm
Sally and I went whale watching the other day, on the Sunshine Coast. It was a beautiful day, but the sea state forecast was ominous for the morning, and when we got there the guy gave a speech saying it was going to be choppy, people would probably get seasick, and if anybody wanted to go on the afternoon trip instead, they could.

That probably should have been warning, but nobody I saw pulled out. Sally and I had to get back home and wanted to miss the afternoon traffic back to Brisbane, so we decided it was now or never.

And just... wow. He wasn't kidding, it was really rolling, and four hours on that swell had practically the entire boat sick. There were about 70 people on board, and it's school holidays so there were a lot of kids, and people were just spewing all over the shop. Sally and I were both feeling pretty bad, but we were smart enough to stay outside looking at the horizon, so we didn't need the sick bags. The sickest people were the ones sitting inside, so they were looking at the inside of the boat, which is of course the worst thing you can do for seasickness.

Anyway, the chop made it tricky to spot any whales, but eventually we found one, and the guy was running a commentary over the loudspeaker, and those inside just did not give a shit about any damn whale. They'd paid $119 each, the whale was right there, and not a muscle did they move to come out and see it! Poor buggers.

So that was a bit of an adventure on the High Seas for Sally and Simon. The whale didn't do too much - no breaching or tail-slapping, I suspect he wasn't too keen on the conditions either. Sally and I were both sick the rest of the day, and still a bit queasy the next day too. Sea sickness is no joke!
03 July 2014 @ 10:10 pm
One of the things I dislike about LJ these days is that it only shows the last two weeks' worth of entries on your friends page now. Previously you could go back forever if you wanted. I know LJ was dying anyway in the modern Facebook/Twitter world, but a lot of the changes they've made seem to have accelerated the decline IMO. They've made it deserted AND shit, instead of merely deserted.

Oh well. Such is life - life moves on. Anyway, at least I have an excuse for not seeing anybody's updates anymore I guess.

I've finally got around to replacing my laptop that was stolen a year ago. I'm not sure why it took so long, I guess I was just so busy with work, Aconcagua, etc. Plus I hate Windows 8 so I was hoping Windows 9 would come out before I bought a new computer. It hasn't, but I managed to buy a laptop with Windows 7 on it, which I imagine I will run into the ground (at least until it gets stolen again). It's also pretty hard to buy laptops these days with DVD drives. Since most of the games I play are old ones that require the CD this was an embuggerance as well, so with my DVD drive, Windows 7 laptop I'm going full retro like it's 2011. Old school!

Anyway, once I actually have my laptop and I'm not fighting Sally for use of hers, I might actually update LJ a bit more often. I lost of a lot of memories when my last one was stolen (not on the laptop itself but the old hard drive that was stolen from a cupboard)so I really need to start documenting my life again.

At least they caught one of the pricks who robbed our place, and he's presumably in jail as I type this - though not for long enough, I imagine he only got a couple of years. If it was up to me, I'd have given him at least five years and then broken his fucking legs for good measure.
Current Music: The Lawrence Arms - Metropole
24 May 2014 @ 08:31 pm
Hola, LJ! This new LJ structure is a classic example, IMO, of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Pointless update from what I can see. Can anybody see a noticeable improvement, or did they just shuffle stuff around?

Anyway. New developments in life - not a great deal. Heading to Perth tomorrow for a week-long course in Reservoir Engineering, from which I will decide whether I want to pursue a Masters in it. If you'd told me (pretty much any time in my life previously) I'd be considering a Masters in engineering of any kind, I'd have laughed, but Such Is Life. It never works out to plan, does it?

I had a nasty scare recently where my middle finger on my right hand swelled up basically overnight, for no discernible reason, and the ring finger of my left to a lesser degree. I was worried it was rheumatoid arthritis, because the symptoms were all there and there was no other easy explanation. I went to the doctor after two weeks of waking up to extremely swollen and painful fingers, but he said he didn't think it was, and that even though he couldn't tell me what it actually might be, he thought it would be transient and fade after a few weeks. He sent me off for all the tests for RA, lupus and other auto-immune nasties, but thankfully they all came back negative.

Which doesn't clear me completely, because in the early stages RA can present like this and return negative tests, but the chance is much lower now. Plus I've been taking 6 to 8 ibuprofen a day and it's reduced the swelling a hell of a lot, so maybe the doctor was right after all. I'm currently too scared to stop taking ibuprofen so I don't know whether it'll start swelling again when I stop.

I was talking to a co-worker at work when the doctor rang to say the blood tests were clear, and I told the co-worker what had happened. She said "Have you ever had malaria?" I said yes, I have, and she said several her friends have had joint swelling years after having malaria. I googled it, but nothing came up, although it auto-filled when I searched with "post malaria joint pain" which I guess means a bunch of other people have searched for the same thing. So I suspect it's one of those things that just hasn't been studied enough for medical science to recognise, but I'm putting it down to malaria. Which is much, much better than RA.

Other than that, nothing much happening. Somebody started a sort of 'Facebook fan page' for the MUD I used to play from 1998 to about 2003. It's been a massive trip down memory lane and made me rather nostalgic. Back in the days when the Internet was only for nerds, and done through dial-up modem. Those days are gone now, the net is the realm of the Everyman and has gone mainstream and lame. We old-school net-nerds are much worse off for it.